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Laws alone don’t protect

Opinion Column

If laws were enough to deter criminal behavior prisons would be empty.

The latest effort to “control” guns in America is as likely to deter someone intent on breaking the law as outlawing lust would affect one’s libido. What’s in a heart can’t be controlled by restricting what’s in a hand.

Following the Newtown tragedy, President Obama vowed to seek the passage of an assault weapons ban and hastily assembled an administration-wide gun control task force, an effort that amounts to little more than a political act designed to impress what Rush Limbaugh calls “low-information voters.” Government must be seen doing something to keep mad men from shooting children and moviegoers, even if that something will likely prove ineffective.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” the proverb goes, and someone who has the will to kill with a gun is going to find a way (and a gun) no matter how many laws are passed. Consider Chicago where numerous anti-gun laws appear to have done little to stop gun deaths.

President Obama put Vice President Joe Biden in charge of the task force. Biden calls his gun control effort a “moral issue.” Does Biden suffer from selective morality? For him, same-sex marriage and abortion don’t appear to be moral issues, as they are for his Catholic church, but gun control is.

The loss of liberty always begins at the extremes, but it won’t stop there. Radicals won’t be satisfied with outlawing one type of gun. In 1995, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told “60 Minutes,” “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States, for an outright ban, picking up (every gun) ... Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ’em all in. I would have done it ...” In 2004, when he was an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama voted against a bill that affirms the right of citizens to defend themselves against home invasions. The bill ultimately passed.

The Sandy Hook shooter reportedly stopped killing children and killed himself when law enforcement officers arrived on the scene. This contains no lesson for the gun control crowd, which mostly opposes armed guards in schools. Neither does it matter to them that recently a Georgia woman, Melinda Herman, shot an intruder when police couldn’t get to her home quickly enough, thus defending her life and the lives of her two children. To gun control advocates, guns decide whether they are used for good or evil, not the people who fire them.

If President Obama attempts to impose new restrictions on guns by executive order, not Congress, what can individuals do? I asked constitutional attorney John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute, “a nonprofit conservative legal organization dedicated to the defense of civil, especially religious, liberties and human rights.” “Even if the president has the authority to issue the executive order,” Whitehead replied by email, “the order may not violate the Constitution’s guarantees to individual liberty. If the order resulted in restrictions on gun ownership or possession that go beyond what is allowed under the Second Amendment, individuals who are harmed by the order could sue to have the order declared unconstitutional.”

We need to hear more stories of how law-abiding gun owners have managed to thwart criminals. As the predictable assault of anti-gun TV ads begins, the National Rifle Association should create its own ads with gun owners telling their stories of self-defense and crime prevention.

You know rational thinking is lacking when Pravda, Russia’s communist political newspaper, makes sense. In a recent article, Stanislav Mishin writes that after the Bolsheviks seized Moscow in 1917, they promised to leave alone the well-armed citizens if they did not interfere. “They did not and for that were asked afterwards,” writes Mishin, “to come register themselves and their weapons, whereupon they were promptly shot.”

The Second Amendment was written to protect citizens from tyrannical government and to preserve our liberties. It’s not primarily for the protection of hunters and target shooters, though they are included. Those politicians who wish to ignore the Constitution are the ones who need to be controlled, not law-abiding gun owners.

Email Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com.

Comments

waltspecht 1 year, 11 months ago

If laws worked, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Chicago would be the safest Cities around. You could walk anywhere in Albany at any time of the day or night, and have absolutely no concern about your Safety. I left out Lee County, and the Part of Dougherty that is not Albany because there are Rattlesnakes, Water Moccasins, Copper Heads, Coral snakes, Wild Hogs and Wild Dogs that can't readf, noe has anyone educated them about the laws. So the laws can't protect you from them. Funny, but there seems to be a whole group of people that seem to fall into that same catagory out there. They actually have very little, if any respect for any law. As long as they are out there, the only ones obeyiong laws are the Honest Citizen, and even they don't always behave as evidanced by DUI, Speeders, Red Light Runners, Thieves, Con Artists and the list goes on. Would that laws were as effective as some folks think they are. Just look at how well the Laws have corrected the drug problem.

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free_ur_mind 1 year, 11 months ago

While I respect Cal Thomas' writing style and intellect, this whole stream from the GOP makes no sense. Let's not set up more strict rules on gun control because it won't prevent criminals from using them. Can't we think about that? Let's not set up more strict rape laws because there are predators that would still continue to rape victims. Of course, we're not going to eliminate gun violence, no more than we're going to eliminate poverty or terrorism. However, the ultimate goal is to MINIMIZE gun violence. If banning assault weapons can make it HARDER for criminals to get access to them, then I'm in favor of it.

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Black_Falcon 1 year, 11 months ago

If the goal is to minimize gun violence, why then have there been no substantive talk about how we treat the mentally ill in this country. Why have there been no substantive talk about the increasing number of children on psychotropic drugs in this country? Why have there been no substantive talks about what information is reported on background checks for firearms purchases and who has to report this information? Why have there been no substantive talks about the dismal number of people who have been prosecuted under the current federal gun laws?

I am all for making the world my children and I live in a safer place. However, violence in America is a multifaceted problem. To oversimplify the violence problem to "just guns" is short sighted and foolish.

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B4it 1 year, 11 months ago

This is not the first foolish statement from free_ur_mind. Since there is a trend of foolish statements from free_... there should be a law to restrict this persons right to vote because this person may harm someone else's vote in the future for rational and logical thinkers. The logic in the previous statement to minimize poor voting choices is the same as the above logic to ban specific weapons because it makes it harder for criminals to get access to them. As Black_Falcon said, it is short sighted and foolish. THINK!!!

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free_ur_mind 1 year, 11 months ago

Humor me with your superior logic. When Cal says that "If laws were enough to deter criminal behavior prisons woud be empty", isn't it a fair assumption to take that a step further and say. We have implemented tougher laws on drug use, murders, robberies, etc, but last time I checked prisons are full of people violating those laws. Does that mean we should do away with them?

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waltspecht 1 year, 11 months ago

No, what was said was that laws by themselves solve nothing. It is the enforcement of laws, and the severity of the punishment that follows that makes laws strong. There are so many Firearms Laws on the books right now, that if they were enforced, people would tend to obey laws more. Did you know there is a Federal law on the books with a mandatory 5 year sentence for the simple posession of a firearm during a drug event. It was enforced in Richmond Virginia, and the Dealers went to knives and dogs to avoid the additional prison time. I have never seen it used here. Why? Probably because some consider it too harsh, and minority selective. Neither decision should be available. Get caught with a gun in a crime, and your five years starts right after a speedy single issue trial. Then persue the other charges in the normal Continuance and appeal laden process.

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free_ur_mind 1 year, 11 months ago

@ Black_Falcon, I actually agree with you. Gun violence is multifaceted. More funding is needed to mental health, but isn't government spending a dirty word to conservatives?? Now watch yourself...

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free_ur_mind 1 year, 11 months ago

@ Waltspecht, the only problem with your rationale is that Cal is making an argument against more laws under the premise of restricting freedoms. That has nothing to do with enforcement. Regardless, enforcement mostly falls outside the purview of federal government and local authorities choose to enforce laws to the degree that they want to. Laws will always restrict freedoms, but society is willing to give up certain freedoms if that means living in a more safe environment.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

More funding is every Liberal's answer to EVERYTHING. Hellerrr?? We're borrowing forty cents of every dollar the Federal Government spends!! Hellerrr!??!

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free_ur_mind 1 year, 11 months ago

Yes, borrowing is high. However, don't you think young lives are important. Let's say you're parents that spent irresponsibly and have high debt. However, you're committed to watching your spending, but then you had a break-in where your window was broken and your daughter was shot. So are you saying that because of high debt levels, you're not going to spend extra money on a credit card to ensure that the window is fixed, so that you can protect your family?

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